They say that the first five years of your life are the most crucial. This is a time for self-discovery as we explore our emerging talents, interests, likes and dislikes. We develop a sense of not only ourselves but others as well. When we look back on the first five years of our lives we have no memory of the struggle it took to learn to walk or talk, draw or paint a picture, cut with scissors in a straight line or even to write our names. We only remember the enormous amount of enjoyment and excitement we had playing. Little Willow believes that this is the key to successful learning and development.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for Children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of Childhood.”
The Early years learning framework of Australia defines ‘play based learning’ as a context for learning through which Children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations.
This definition speaks volumes to us when we watch and observe our Children at play and therefore forms the foundation of our learning programs at Little Willow.
We believe that Childhood is a time of enjoyment, imagination and learning. Through their play, Children make discoveries, conduct knowledge and express themselves, thus providing the fundamentals of learning for the future. Our play based curriculum accompanies a dynamic and thoughtful environment, which encourages exploration, enquiry, research and creativity. This allows our Children the time and opportunity to be the captain of their own learning.
"Little Willow is a place of magic where all of our Children are the magicians."
-Jyana & Larissa (Approved Providers)-
Little Willow is inspired by the Early Years Learning Framework of Australia (EYLF) and the National Quality Framework (NQF) and is used as a guide in our everyday interactions and programs. We also take a lot of inspiration from the philosophy, 'Reggio Emilia' created in Italy by psychologist; Loris Malaguzzi and the Parents living in the village of Reggio Emilia. The story unfolded following the war, people believed that Children were in need of a new way of learning. The assumption of Malaguzzi and the Parents was that people form their own personality during early years of development and that Children are endowed with "a hundred languages" through which they can express their ideas. The aim of this approach is teaching how to use these symbolic languages (eg., painting, sculpting, drama) in everyday life. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the Children through a self-guided curriculum.
Our Philosophy also acknowledges the importance of having solid partnerships between the Families and Educators, as well as the Approved Providers and the surrounding Community. Just like the traditional African proverb; “It takes a village to raise a Child.” We realise that in a day and age where the world we live in is so fast paced and packed full of pressures, Children are confronted with many obstacles, challenges and opportunities, making navigating Parenthood a very daunting task. Therefore it is our goal to provide a safe and supportive nurturing environment not only for our Children but for our Families as well. Our partnership with Families is a relationship that we truly value. We recognise the Child as being part of a family entity with its own unique culture, experiences and needs. We value the support and input provided by Families. We celebrate our Families Heritages and love to share their knowledge, stories and ideas throughout the wider community.
Our Educators are our learning facilitators, they are the guides that encourage, foster and plan for our little ones to feel important, loved and valued on their journey of becoming successful learners. Our Educators use a holistic approach to care for the Children, recognising each one as the unique individual that they are. Our surrounding community is also an invaluable and necessary resource to us, we believe it is important to not only look to the future but also to seek out the past. Having strong community ties enables us to pass on important historical moments in time to our Children and bridge the gaps between this age of technology and the old traditions that our nation holds dear.
A successful comradeship between all parties involved enables us to truly work towards inspiring happy, confident and involved future citizens for our society.
“All big dreams start from little beginnings.”
It is important to us that this is reflected in the learning environment that we provide to the Children in our care. Children, like Willow Trees with the right conditions can blossom into something so strong and incandescent. We pride ourselves on creating a setting, which feels like an extension of home. It is a place where Children can feel safe, supported, comfortable and confident enough to express their true nature as they not only engage in learning for the future but also to simply be Children and have fun and participate in life’s joys and the complexities of growing up without pressure. The Early Years Learning Framework of Australia says this best with, “The early childhood years are not solely preparation for the future but also about the present.”